Leading a Horse

Count how many times you pull at your horse on any given day.  I mean, really count.  Some days it’s a lot, if we’re being honest.  Whether we’re on the ground with our horse or riding, how much does your poor horse’s head get yanked around?  And sometimes, it’s kind of amazing that it gets results, if it does, given the size and weight of a horse.  Pulling it into a trailer?  Yanking it back, to get it to slow down, pulling it toward something it’s not so sure if it should be scared of.

I started taking riding lessons on Saturday.  Or I should say horsemanship lessons.  It’s at a barn that is very ‘natural’.  I guess that’s a loaded word, but the barn is very aware of the horse first, though the human is important too.  The horse I will be riding is named Buddy.  He’s a rescued quarterhorse.  Very gentle with a rider in the arena, or on trail, a very calm guy, except he hates having his head and upper neck (or poll) touched.  And this barn is very respectful of that fear – the fear that he has of being hurt because he has been hurt – we don’t know how but someone or something hurt his head badly.

So, this horse never gets pulled.  Actually no horse in a lesson at this barn gets pulled or yanked on.  When leading a horse they use the end of the lead rope to tell a horse if it’s going too fast.  If a horse walks too fast, they teach to use the end of the rope in a propellor type fashion in front of the horse’s face, to say ‘slow down’ or ‘back up’.  If the horse won’t go, they direct the horse with one hand and body pointed in the direction you want it to go, and use the end as a propellor again, aimed toward the horse’s shoulder.  These are both gentle actions, not meant to touch the horse except maybe gently if needed.

It turns out leading a horse to water is about a lot more than merely getting it to drink.

Belle and Pico – Rescue horses

Belle and daddy Pico

This is Belle in the front and her dad, Pico in the back.  They were two of five horses that the farm rescued from a place where they weren’t getting fed or taken care of.  You can see the halter mark on Belle.  It hadn’t been taken off since she was a baby and was way too small.  She is only 2 years old and very small.  Her dad, Pico is five years old and possibly the cutest looking horse I’ve ever seen.  He in green broke and Belle has never been ridden.

Pico just found someone who wants him, but no one has shown much interest in Belle except Rachael and now me.  We have been working with her on and off to get her used to being handled, brushed, feet picked.  When they first came, it was tough to catch them and even now, they are timid around humans (who can blame them).  They are both wonderful horses who deserve to be loved.

belle

This is beautiful Belle.

Pictures of our horses inside in winter

major giving and being kissed

Big, draft horse, Major accepting kisses from his fans.

princess and maj checking things out

Major is the white guy, but Princess, the black nose is trying to get some kisses of her own.

jetta and junior

Junior is the big guy on the right.  Jetta is his mare friend.  Amanda, a friend of ours whose family just built a barn will be taking Junior the first of February.  Junior is a great horse.  He’s given so much in his 20 years.  He won races (3 for 3) till he got injured.  Then most recently he was a lesson horse and was also shareboarded by many.  Lots of people have loved him.  Amanda loves him and he’s found his forever home.  And I’ll always be around to hang out now and then. 

Amanda riding Jr.

This is Amanda riding Junior.

 

maj and opie in shelter

This is Major and his paddock-mate, Opie.  They’re hanging out in their shelter.  They are both pasture boarded or maybe paddock boarded, because they are in a small paddock area.  I wish they were in a bigger pasture.  So do they.